Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Evangelicals and The Law, pt. 1

There is a simple but profound truth that is sometimes buried in our study of our sacred text: The Bible is narrative, it's story, not just one nor several stories. We could say it's stories of God interacting with people, and others interacting with others under the direct auspices of God. Or we could say that it's the meta-story of the Creator interacting with his creation and particularly his prize creation - humans. But the crux of the matter is that it is Story told through story. We evangelicals once knew this, when we were children and heard story after story in Sunday School class.

The Israelite people also knew this. Freshly liberated from Egyptian captivity, they were commanded to retell their stories to their children so that their children would remember them and pass them on to their children. Their stories consisted of history (of God and creation and God and the Abramic patriarchs), recent history (their recent exodus from Egypt under Moses' care), and God's covenant with the Hebrew people. All of this would later be known under the title, The Law, referring to the covenant. The Law - or the covenant - in this case was a way of being and remaining pure under God. I think most Christian theologians and pastors would agree with that. However, where many conservative Evangelicals and their Fundamentalist cousins differ is in weighing some of the laws (what I will describe as the Bedroom Laws) more heavily than others, disregarding others completely, dropping and adding others (such as those about tattoos) through the years and shifting social mores, and yet fully and even willingly ignoring others that are more thematic throughout the entire Scriptures. But more on that later.

Of course, the Laws are weird, scary, and to be honest, archaic. There's the parts that we know fairly well, like the Ten Commandments. But then there's the stuff that's fairly upsetting to the modern reader. In order to keep the nation pure, children could not be sacrificed (do we need to explain this one?), men and women with disabilities could not enter the temple. Menstruating women sat outside the town, lepers lived in their own colonies. Of course, there were other parts of the Law that were rarely followed by anyone at any time: welcoming the foreigner, eliminating all debts every fifty years...

Being typical people, however, they forgot, got bored, got caught up in their - as Terry Taylor put it in Daniel Amos's "Banquet at the World's End" - "real estate and sex lives, livestock and ex-wives." (Jesus' depiction in Matthew chptr 22 is a bit more violently descriptive) They got caught up with their neighbors and the ways of the world, the lust, the flesh, the eyes and the pride of life. And they began enslaving themselves. They worshiped other gods. Many other gods. Bad gods, who had them doing bad things, like sacrificing their children, having prostitutes as their spiritual guides, enforcing slavery, etc., etc. Their leaders either led in these idolatrous acts, or looked away. They forgot the God who saved them from slavery and began to enslave not just others themselves, but themselves.

And then they got sold back into slavery, sent off into exile. Once again, they were the victims of their own undoing.

They realized that they had neglected God, the Law and the Temple. And so when they returned from exile, they began to rebuild and reclaim their worship. They treasured the Law and began schools to teach it and memorize it and have it memorized. They expounded on the Law, interpreting it and adding to it, because they realized that many points of the Law needed to be updated for the modern times.

Yet, in his infamous Woes to the Pharisees (interestingly enough, in Matthew 23), Jesus laments that the religious leaders, "crush people with unbearable religious demands and never lift a finger to ease the burden." Throughout the Gospels (Jesus' own narrative), there are plenty examples where Jesus shuns these leaders for poo-pooing the wrong things: healing or grabbing food on a Sabbath and eating before purification rituals (I can't help but think that these were laws that made it harder for the typical poor people of the times - in a time where most people went hungry most days, demanding an extra step in order to eat could be next to impossible for those on the brink of starvation. Let alone the no-healing-on-Sabbath rule - it's a complete status quo grab). They also allowed the children of the elderly to vow their gifts to the temple rather than to their parents (thereby openly disrespecting the commandment to honor their father and mother).

The lawyers and scribes and rabbis were, in one of Jesus' most sarcastic rebukes, "Straining gnats, but swallowing camels."

The old narrative was corrupted. The emphasis was on the wrong thing. To borrow Platonic terms, the elites didn't know the forms, but kept following the faded shadows. Jesus again and again reproved them for their incorrect, often selfish, emphasis:
"If you had known what these words mean, 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice,' you would not have condemned the innocent (for picking grain on the Sabbath)."
He said to them, "If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable is a man than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath."
He replied, "Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:
" 'These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain;
their teachings are but rules taught by men.' You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men." [Mark 7. NIV]
and still,
Moses said, 'Respect your father and mother,' and, 'Anyone denouncing father or mother should be killed.' But you weasel out of that by saying that it's perfectly acceptable to say to father or mother, 'Gift! What I owed you I've given as a gift to God,' thus relieving yourselves of obligation to father or mother. [Mark 7. Message]
and one more for posterity,

Now if a child can be circumcised on the Sabbath so that the law of Moses may not be broken, why are you angry with me for healing the whole man on the Sabbath? [John 7, NIV]
Okay, okay, one last one:

The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord, even over the Sabbath!

Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law! Jesus completes the Law!
(Don't believe me? Check out Matthew 5:17) So he gives the Law meaning, not the other way around. He redefines it. By using himself as an example. In place of the old, he puts in a new mission statement (which, not un-coincidentally, is based on the old. Because, as corrupted as the old has been made, it is in itself, good and right and showed the way):
When he came to the village of Nazareth, his boyhood home, he went as usual to the synagogue on the Sabbath and stood up to read the Scriptures. The scroll of Isaiah the prophet was handed to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where this was written:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released,
that the blind will see,
that the oppressed will be set free,
and that the time of the Lord's favor has come.

He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the attendant, and sat down. All eyes in the synagogue looked at him intently. Then he began to speak to them. “The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!” [Luke 4, NLT]
Jesus was pointing to himself and declaring that he is the Messiah, the promised Deliverance, the Lord's favor. What I find compelling her is the demonstration of his office: blind see, oppressed set free, the poor will receive good news (and you would have to imagine that if it's 'good' news, than it should be received as good news particularly, unless Jesus is as arrogant as the Roman occupiers, thinking that his rise to power should be universally understood as good). It's a redemption, a curing of ills, and an invitation for all to be made whole in a society that - as all do - excludes those that are not 'pure' or 'without blemish.'

But let's look at the other bookmark of Jesus' public career, his infamous Temple squabble:
Jesus went straight to the Temple and threw out everyone who had set up shop, buying and selling. He kicked over the tables of loan sharks and the stalls of dove merchants. He quoted this text:

My house was designated a house of prayer;
You have made it a hangout for thieves.
Now there was room for the blind and crippled to get in. They came to Jesus and he healed them. [Matthew 21, Message]
What I love about this translation of this passage is the poignancy that in other translations you may not spot: Now there was room for the blind and crippled to get in. Partly because they were crowded out by the merchants. But also because Israelites with disabilities were not allowed in the temple region. Because they were not considered whole, to include them in such a place would taint the entire nation according to the old Law.

But Jesus demonstrated and stated time and again that he was implementing a New Law. That the old law isn't just outdated, he's expanding and fulfilling the purpose of it: To create a priestly people who would bless all the peoples. The Kingdom of God was crashing to earth to fix what sin had broken and was doing so in profound, dramatic but also gentle and mysterious ways.

So what does all this have to do with judgment? Simply put, the paradigm for judgment (not to say the paradigm for justice, but we'll save that for another time) seems to be in the Evangelical fold, whatever we deem it to be. We parcel out bits of the Old Testament and condemn people for not living up to our ideas for what it may be. The emphases are on the wrong things. Instead of focusing on what Jesus was focusing on (healing, aid, restoration, welcoming) we draw judgment lines in the sand that are NOT the lines that Jesus drew. I can't possibly make this any more clear than the way that Jesus himself did here in this judgment seat picture:

But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left.

Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’

Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’

“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!

Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons. For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink. I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’

Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’

And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.

And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life.

We've got the wrong emphases. Point. Blank.

FootNote: I've been trying to finish this five part series on the "Weapons of Our Warfare," only to be sideswept into a dangerously contentious battle. I wanted to see if I could fit it into the series, but then I realized that this particular battle is more fundamental in nature. Although hopefully I can use the weapons gracefully and skillfully in this essay(s?), the focus is really how we Evangelicals read the Bible. And to be honest, I'll mostly be talking about how I read the Bible, because, well, I'm not writing a book here and there's others who may be better equipped to do that than myself (Scot McKnight, for starters).

*Image at top is Terrace field Yunnan, China by Jialiang Gao,

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Weapons of Our Warfare: Faith

Fourth in a series of five on a better way of fighting the good fight.

I'm foolish enough to believe in a sense that I was saved (and maybe even buried a bit) by Calvinism. While watching others succumb to the pressures of being anything they want to be, I was free to believe in my own depravity - that no matter how hard I tried, I wouldn't amount to anything that God didn't design for me from before the beginning of time.

Of course, with age comes an appreciation that not everything is so black and white, so clearly delineated between evil and good, between obvious sin and definite salvation (and often the things you assumed were obviously good turned out to be nebulously nefarious).

Just as human nature is neither completely good nor bad (nor, and this is central to this entire series, is any one human completely good or evil - that only happens in cartoons), so the issue of faith is not the same one that I grew up on, nor that Martin Luther was so sure it was. Luther and some of his Reformation brothers reacted to the excesses of the Catholic Church of the time by considering faith as the antithesis of works. Solo fido, they argued. You need nothing else to be in God's good graces.

I would argue that although that my be true as far as receiving grace, being a citizen of God's Kingdom (or a Christ-follower, however you want to pose it) encompasses work. And hard work. Fact of the matter is that faith and works are inseparable.

Lemme post an example from another prominent reformer, the OTHER Martin Luther:
Something is happening in Memphis; something is happening in our world. And you know, if I were standing at the beginning of time, with the possibility of taking a kind of general and panoramic view of the whole of human history up to now, and the Almighty said to me, "Martin Luther King, which age would you like to live in?"
King ponders for a few moments what it would be like to spend time in Ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, in the Renaissance, at the forefront of the Reformation, during the Emancipation, and by the side of FDR. But then:

Strangely enough, I would turn to the Almighty, and say, "If you allow me to live just a few years in the second half of the 20th century, I will be happy."

Now that's a strange statement to make, because the world is all messed up. The nation is sick. Trouble is in the land; confusion all around... But I know, somehow, that only when it is dark enough can you see the stars. And I see God working in this period of the twentieth century in a way that men, in some strange way, are responding.

Something is happening in our world. The masses of people are rising up. And wherever they are assembled today, whether they are in Johannesburg, South Africa; Nairobi, Kenya; Accra, Ghana; New York City; Atlanta, Georgia; Jackson, Mississippi; or Memphis, Tennessee -- the cry is always the same: "We want to be free."

And another reason that I'm happy to live in this period is that we have been forced to a point where we are going to have to grapple with the problems that men have been trying to grapple with through history, but the demands didn't force them to do it. Survival demands that we grapple with them. Men, for years now, have been talking about war and peace. But now, no longer can they just talk about it. It is no longer a choice between violence and nonviolence in this world; it's nonviolence or nonexistence. That is where we are today.

And also in the human rights revolution, if something isn't done, and done in a hurry, to bring the colored peoples of the world out of their long years of poverty, their long years of hurt and neglect, the whole world is doomed...

I can remember -- I can remember when Negroes were just going around as Ralph [Abernathy] has said, so often, scratching where they didn't itch, and laughing when they were not tickled. But that day is all over. We mean business now, and we are determined to gain our rightful place in God's world.

And that's all this whole thing is about. We aren't engaged in any negative protest and in any negative arguments with anybody. We are saying that we are determined to be men. We are determined to be people... We are saying that we are God's children. And that we are God's children, we don't have to live like we are forced to live.

Faith is hope with legs. Biblical book of Hebrews (via Eugene Peterson's The Message translation) tells us, "The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It's our handle on what we can't see."

Christian faith isn't sitting down and intellectually agreeing with some sort of random (and weird) "fact." It isn't fancy feelings. And it certainly isn't about self-determinism.

True faith, like true religion, according to Jesus' brother, the respected Elder James works it out:
Dear friends, do you think you'll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it? For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags and half-starved and say, "Good morning, friend! Be clothed in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!" and walk off without providing so much as a coat or a cup of soup—where does that get you? Isn't it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense?

I can already hear one of you agreeing by saying, "Sounds good. You take care of the faith department, I'll handle the works department."

... You can no more show me your works apart from your faith than I can show you my faith apart from my works. Faith and works, works and faith, fit together hand in glove.

It's good to have hope - to have a reason to press forward in our battles - but then we must act on our hope. Saying that "I believe that the homeless should be taken care of" will not take care of the homeless. Enacted faith says that, "I believe things can change for the better. And these are ways in which I have acted in that hope."

Faith is also - contrary to modern, Western thought - communal. The one in faith does not walk alone, but shares the burden of the struggle with others who do not always have the same perspective, but rather can add extra input. The result, if properly executed, is rewarding, refreshing, reinvesting, redeeming, creative, and invigorating.

So is our beautiful but messy, hard but shared work resting squarely in faith. As complex as that may sound...

Friday, February 12, 2010

Songs that Get Us Through: ABC - Ain't

These are songs to get me through (in this case, some long-overdue blogs and a nasty months-long case of writer's block):

ABC - Jackson 5
About Love - The Choir
Abraham - Sufjan Stevens
Absolutely Nothing - Lily Allen
Achilles Last Stand - Led Zeppelin
Acuff Rose - Uncle Tupelo
Ad America - Breakfast with Amy
Add It Up - Violent Femmes
Addict - Aunt Bettys
Addiction - Kanye West
Adding to the Noise - Switchfoot
The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel - Grandmaster Flash
After All You've Done for Me - Bill Mallonee
After the Bombs - The Decemberists
Afterlife - Mars Ill
Ain't Misbehavin' - Count Basie
Ain't No Sunshine - Bill Withers
Ain't No Woman (Like the One I Got) - Four Tops
Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing - Marvin Gaye
(Ain't that) Good News - Sam Cooke

Looks like Mars Ill wins this round...

Monday, February 08, 2010

Facebook Doppleganger

I hated to see Conan O'Brien go. I was one of the first thousand or so to fan the I'm With CoCo page on Facebook, and one of the first to make that image my own. However, I just can't turn down a cool gag. And so when the opportunity arose to "borrow" Conan's old "Love Child" Machine (where his intrepid staff was able to put together the pictures of a possible Hollywood couple to show what their horrendously deformed offspring would look like).

I've always been curious as to what would happen if Brad Pitt carried somebody else's baby (I know, finally, right?). But because I'm not normal, I've been wondering what it'd be like for him to have Napoleon Dynamite's baby - just for the sheer cross between total smooth and complete dweebishness.

I put these two images in the LCM:

and I came up with this studly stud. Hmmm... Looks oddly familiar....


Friday, February 05, 2010

Weapons of Our Warfare: Hope

Hope in many ways is the anti-sarcasm. Whereas sarcasm calls out, hope speaks into. Whereas sarcasm cuts and explodes, hope seeks to heal and mend. Yet, the two are not mutually exclusive. Indeed, sarcasm works best when it's enveloped in hope - hope steels sarcasm against the aggressive tides of cynicism.

If sarcasm is a means of contention, hope allows us to contest with a vision to ultimately restore.

The late great educator Howard Zinn says it better than I could hope to, and with a wee bit more mileage under him, I think his words are more trustworthy as well:

To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.

If sarcasm is to be rarely used, hope is an integral weapon in our battles. We should never just hope that we will win, however, but that we may win over and, indeed, not just change our enemies into bitter, mortal enemies, but to change both themselves and ourselves into better people (this of course is getting into my fourth weapon, the other great overlapping one).

Hope gives us both inspiration and direction. Hope is knowing that the sun will indeed rise even while we are in the midst of the darkest hours. The Civil Rights movement, the Anti-Apartheid movement, Poland's Solidarity - these were all envisioned and sustained by the deep calls of hope. Hope against hope got young and old women and men up day after day after bloody and bludgeoned day to fight off the shackles of their enslavement, to believe that their battered and broken bodies were the ransom for their freedom and their children's - and children's children's - freedom. Hope kept them from cracking like glass under the strain and giving up, resigning to the world's typical predicaments - that, "what was will always be," that, "this is the way it is, somethings will never change."

Yet, because of their courage - both buoyed and pressed forward by hope - the world is a slightly better place.

It will be hope that springs us forward and yet keeps us grounded in the hard, day-by-day task of ending child abduction and the sex trade, that will allow us to end all forms of slavery, that will allow nations like the US to welcome the immigrant without fearing for its identity or survival, that will see the day when each person is treated with dignity, respect, and honor on the streets and in the boardrooms and throughout the penal system - regardless of their sex, sexual preference, color of skin, ethnicity, or religion. It will be hope that will allow us to see freedom, or at the least its borders.

Because we dream of a free, democratic Iran.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

The weapons of our warfare

These are some comments I've read in Facebook recently that have, let's just say, fired me up:
Unless you are an absolute pacifist, ie you will not raise a hand to defend yourself or your loved ones, being merely "anti-war" is nothing but moral cowardice.

If you, (generically speaking), are a true pacifist I can respect that, but that is a choice one must make for themselves. I don't believe it is right or fair to impose pacifisim on others.

But if you believe *something* is worth fighting for then the argument is merely about *what* is worth fighting for. Assuming the morally superior tone in such an argument is nothing but vanity.
Nobody likes war.
I know, we'll follow the train of thought that says lets give to those that don't work, not only that we will reward them for not working!... Is [Lt. Gov Andre Bauer] wrong to want drug testing for recipients of assistance? No. I support helping those who need a hand up. But I am not in support of that hand as a way of life.... and you should not force those that earned to give up what they worked for... What I have been given, I also should not be forced to give up. If my family did well, and wished to pass that on to me, why should I be forced to give that up, or my family be forced to give their earnings up to someone else?
Let's just chop off their heads like they did to our guys.

Etc., etc., ad infinitum and on. And on.

And it gets weary. A year of fighting (in admittedly little ways, mostly remote from those who disagree) for health care reform, pointing out that most Western countries are doing it much more effectively and cheaper than us and still offering universal health care. And then hearing lie upon lie delivered not just by the monied interests and their political allies, but by otherwise fine, outstanding people.

I say, and deliberately so, "otherwise" because in this sense they are not fine, loving, generous, considerate, or in any manner outstanding. While one is fighting against the poor, against the afflicted, against the downtrodden, against the minority voices, against immigrants, then one has made a conscious - if temporary - decision to not be good, to not be moral, and it affects the person's own personhood - at least for that moment. It's one thing to declare that solutions are much more complex than what we could possibly hope for (True. But who contends this?). But to come up with so many reasons Why things can't be done when it's obvious that it is the only Right thing to do strikes me as not just being particularly obstructionist, but as fighting for the literally Wrong side.

In Surprised by Hope, New Testament scholar, author, pastor NT Wright likens the arguments that align themselves against social justice (in his case, Third World debt remission) to those offered against the end of the slave trade in Britain. I would add that, in the US, the same can be said for those opposed to abolition, the civil rights movement, and now health care reform (not to mention financial equity, unjust wars, pro-immigrant immigration reform, etc.).

It's against these types of arguments that I banged my head hard against this desk. And, much like a lady, it was once, twice, three times. I felt so cynical. And it was tearing me apart.

After getting some sleep, I was able to calm down and look in a more even-keeled way. I was no longer in vigilante mode and I started to regain my composure. I was ready for a more 'Christian' approach.

I won't say it's a discovery of mine, but I'm beginning to see four different yet beneficial ways to confront enemies and combat the lies. These four are not mutually exclusive, nor are they in any manner exhaustive (indeed, the choices here are awfully selective). Through the next week or so, I shall introduce these weapons. And I'd like to hear your thoughts on them.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Chicago Tuesdays - Get Out the Vote, Bring Out Yer Dead

So, we vote and dine today for the primaries. In an off-year. Which means that not a lot of people are going to vote. And, compared to the amount of newbies that came out last year (my family being among them), there's just not that much excitement in Illinois for this mid-winter fest of golf claps. Yet...

The Senate race should be exciting. It just isn't. The forerunner for the Democrats is a pretty golden boy who played ball professionally in Europe and played with Obama during his campaign (and put considerable financial backing into the campaign as well). And he's money. And connected. And his family bank is going down in a blaze of Untouchables-meet-Goldmann Sachs glory.

Considering all the other scandals Illinois has had to put up with (or, rather, allowed itself to be thrust in the middle of. It's like an abusive relationship), we should know better than to allow this charmer, Alexi Gionnoulias, such a prestigious seat. Trouble with his two opposing front-runners (neither of which seems to be close) is that neither seems to be close.

First there's the reformer, David Hoffman. Chicago's independent General Inspector, he blew the whistle on the privatization of our parking meters when Daley and his minions were running around town saying what a great deal the city got and praize hizzoner and all that other bullspittle. Hoffman managed to get out (much to da Mayor's ire) that the city lost billions of dollars, not the other way around.

Good news is that in a state full of crooks, Hoffman is Elliot Ness. Or so I've heard. Which would be the bestest ever... if he were running for governor. That office could use some cleaning up. But the senate seat? We don't need Mr. Deeds to go to Washington this year. We need someone to fight for working class and middle class families. We don't need to fight off graff (well, maybe a little. Thanks for the extra help, SCOTUS). We need someone to knock some sense into those whose stonewalling tactics are based against the common man/woman/child and for @$$es like these guys.

Cheryle Jackson has done PR for Chicago Public Radio (home of "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" and "This American Life" among other fine shows) and was most recently the head of the Chicago Urban League. Which means that she knows poor and working class realities and struggles (and has fought for them), but also has an "in" with upper-middle class audiences and sensibilities. Being a woman and a minority also means that she can speak for groups that are not being nearly adequately represented, certainly not if she's not elected (Obama's old seat is the only one in the Senate since the Reconstruction that has been filled with an African-American, starting with Carol Moseley Braun). However, she also did PR for ElvisGovernor. Which, for most people - combined with her being out of the pocket and not well-known outside of Chicago (if indeed inside Chicago) means that nobody's backing her horse.

Which, to me, is thoroughly unfortunate and rather stupid. Why worry about one of Blago's mouthpieces (who left before Blago's second term, btw), but instead put in what could well be Blago 2.0? It's not the name, but the patterns we should be worrying about.

Today, I'll be voting for Cheryle. If Hoffman gets the win instead and if the vote is close, I may end up voting for him in the general election. If Jackson gets the nod, I will vote for her barring a complete moral failure on her part. Hell, I'll campaign for her. However, if Alexi gets the approval of Democrats in this more-or-less fine state, that's it, I'm voting Green. We don't deserve to win this seat. Might as well give it to the Republicans than allow the same machines to run their dirty mechanisms.

Also, if you need a little help, Evoter is a useful tool.